MACU Online Etiquette for Live Remote Learning Success

As many students prepare for online classes for the first time, MACU's Office of Academic Affairs has compiled a list of online etiquette that can be used to help make your learning experience a success!

1. Be on Time

Punctuality remains important. Being early is even better to have time to troubleshoot any potential problems like not having sound, etc. If an unforeseen situation occurs, take a moment to let another attendee or the professor know you will be a few minutes late. This way, everyone will be in the loop and you will not miss anything.

2. Dress Appropriately

One of the beneficial things about attending class remotely is the freedom to wear anything you desire. However, it is unacceptable to show your PJs and bedhead to your professor and classmates. Be sure not to look like you just got out of bed or joined the class right after an intense workout. Rather, look like you meant to be there.  

The best part of actually getting ready while attending class remotely is you will put yourself in the right headspace to be productive.

3. No Snacking

Resist the urge to snack. Try to eat a snack before your virtual meeting. No one wants to see you eating while participating in a class discussion. Not only is it distracting to others, but can divert your attention as well. It is acceptable, however, to have a beverage at hand. No slurping, of course!

4. Pay Attention

In this new environment, it might not be immediately apparent when your attention unintentionally slips away for a minute. Unless you are using your phone to take actual notes, set it aside and check it when the class has concluded. Mute your phone and disable notifications either way. Likewise, if you are using a laptop or desktop, mute or turn off notifications there, as well. This is one distraction you can easily prevent.

It may also be tempting to check your inbox or carry on a side conversation during class, but please do not do it. You might miss out on key information or an opportunity to give input. If you are using your webcam, use attentive body language: sit up straight, do not make big extraneous movements, and do not let your eyes wander too much.

5. Mute Yourself

Despite your best efforts to insulate yourself for an online class, some things are beyond your control.  For example, microphones are likely to pick up on things like construction noise outside your window, someone mowing the lawn, your pets or children playing outside your closed door, or even someone else in the home having a conversation — just to name a few real-life scenarios.

Always mute your line if you are not the one talking. This simple, yet essential step will help minimize call noise, avoid audio feedback, and keep the class focused on the person who is speaking.

6. Whose Turn Is It?

Accept that talking over each other is inevitable when class participants are in different locations. This most likely happens because of lags in varying quality of internet connectivity. However, there are a few ways to significantly reduce the frequency of these occurrences:

Leave a few seconds of silence when moving from one topic to the next or before passing “the floor” to someone else. This will account for streaming lags and allow everyone to catch up, as well as a chance to intervene. Accept that this will slow the usual pace of the class somewhat, but know that it does ensure a respectful and efficient meeting experience.

When you want to speak, you can raise your hand, use the hand sign, or simply state you have a question or a comment and then wait until permission is given.

7. Environment Counts

It can be distracting to your classmates as they listen to your ideas if the room you are in is cluttered with dirty clothes or messiness in general. It draws your classmates’ attention away from you. Lighting is important in your video so you can avoid looking like you work from the inside of a dark cave. Adjust your work setup so you face a window or are exposed to plenty of light on your face. Also, make sure your background is professional and appropriate! This means: 

  • No messy rooms or open closets where everyone can see your clutter
  • No inappropriate posters or artwork
  • Turn off your TV or video games that may be distracting to others

While children and pets are adorable, your classmates may not like having to talk over a crying child or barking dog. So, be mindful of noise and…other possible distractions.

8. Do Your Homework

Last, but certainly not least, come to class prepared. Obtain all required texts and have them with you during class so that you can responsibly contribute to class discussions. You are to complete the assigned reading prior to the class and be prepared to share insights from the readings.  

Many professors give points for class participation. Being online does not exclude you from participating.   

These ideas were modified for MACU use from:

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